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CHELTENHAM RACES: A Plus Tard wins Close Brother Novices Handicap Chase

Report from the first day of the races at 'The Festival'

4:50 Close Brother Novices Handicap Chase

5/1 favourite  A Plus Tard comfortably saw off Tower Bridge in the Close Brother Novices Handicap Chase.

Third favourite 11/1 Rider On the Storm’s jokey Brian Hughes fell off in the early hurdles deeming Tom Taaffe horse out of the race.

Outsiders 20/1 Walt and 50/1 Dell Oro also had to pull out of the race early on.

4:10 Mares Hurdle

Favourite 10/11 Benie Des Dieux sensationally fell at the last hurdle as 10/1 Roksana stole a dramatic win at the 4:10 Mares Hurdle.

Willie Mullins horse took the lead with two hurdles left to jump and looked to be in control of securing his third win of the festival until Ruby Walsh fell, reminiscent of Annie Power’s fall back in 2015.

7/1 Stormy Ireland came in second place for Mullins with 25/1 Good Thyne Tara finishing in third.

3:30 Champion Hurdle

16/1 Espoir D’Allen caused a big upset at the Champion Hurdle beating favourite 2/1 Apple’s Jade and two time winner 9/4 Buveur D’Air .

J.P McManus won his eighth Champion Hurdle but would have been surprised to see Buveur D’Air fall early on.

Gordon Elliot’s Apple’s Jade made a strong start to the race leading the pack, but however did not finish in the top three.

Jockey Paul Townsend came second with 20/1 Melon with 80/1 Silverstreak and 5/2 Laurina coming third and forth respectively.  

2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase

10/1 Beware the Bear from Nicky Henderson struck back against Willie Mullins as Jeremiah McGrath won the 2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase.


8/1 Up For Review struggled for a top three finish, placing sixth, with Paul Townsend unable to win back-to-back races.


Last year winner (8/1) Coo Star Sivola finished just behind Up for Review with Nick Williams’ horse coming seventh.


14/1 Minella Rocco was the only horse to pull up in the race.

2:10 Arkle Chase

Third favourite 5/1 Duc Des Genievres trained by Irishman Willie Mullins took the Arkle Chase.  Mullins has two from two races from The Festival.

14/1 Us and them, 25/1 Articulum and  33/1 Clondaw Castle came second to forth as favourite 9/2 Glen Forsa and 7/1 Kalashnnikov unseated as their jockeys fell over the early hurdles.

Two time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Richard Johnson rode 7/1 Lalor who pulled up.

1:30 SkyBet Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Ruby Walsh claimed the first race win of the 2019 Cheltenham festival as 6/1 Klassical Dream won the SkyBet Supreme Novices Hurdle.


28/1 Thomas Darby and 25/1 Itchy Feet came in second and third place respectively. Walsh has now made this his sixth win of this race in ‘The Festival.’

9/2 Favourite Al Dancer, trained by Gloucestershire based Nigel Twiston-Davies, finished outside the top three in 10th which was a shock result.

Last year’s winning jockey Noel Fehily rode on The Big Bite who was an outsider ahead of the race.

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